Advantages & Disadvantages of Population Growth

Texas has about 172 million acres. More than 6.5 billion people live on Earth. All of these people could physically fit in a land the size of Texas at about 40 people per acre. Imagine the overcrowding and civil unrest that could occur, if this were the case. Similarly, consider how much farmland would be needed to feed the population for quite some time. Population growth has both advantages and disadvantages.

Advantage: Industrial, Medical, and Agricultural Innovation

Many of the world's most remarkable innovations over the past 300 years are attributable to population growth. Even more great minds lead to more innovations. Assembly-line manufacturing itself is an adaptation to an increasing population and the need for greater and faster output. More people around the world are living longer lives than even a century earlier thanks to modern medical achievements. And while agricultural resources are a very real concern as the world's population grows, the world's increase in population is responsible for a greater consciousness of the need for additional resources as well as the innovations to produce food at the pace of population growth.

Advantage: Economic Growth

A growing population can generate economic growth. The birth of more people equates to a greater number of parents investing in their youth. Increased purchases in products such as food, clothing, education-related expenses, sporting goods and toys feed the economy. Parents with small children purchase larger homes with more bedrooms and bathrooms to ensure they have enough room for their children. Construction of larger homes feed the building and home improvement industries economically. As the population grows, so does economic spending.

Disadvantage: Food Shortage

Unchecked population growth without equal agricultural advancement to meet it leads to food shortages. Fortunately, agricultural supply worldwide currently exceeds the demand of the world population. If the population was to show signs of increasing, support for agricultural development would be required. Slowing population growth combined with modern agriculture make it difficult to estimate a point when the population's demand for food outweighs the supply. Food distribution does remain a concern in some areas of the world.

Disadvantage: Property Shortage

Although the world population is a long way from being large enough to occupy all of the habitable land on earth, unchecked population growth can inspire overcrowding and civil unrest. Areas with high populations experience this now. An increase in population growth would necessitate an investment in the development of less desirable areas on earth, to meet space need demands.

Disadvantage: Aging Dependency

The world's growing population includes a large and dependent aging segment. In the United States, the aging population, defined by people over the age of 65, is expected to comprise almost 20 percent of the population by 2030 -- an 80 percent increase from 2000. Changes in population distribution such as this one can make a society assess how it cares for certain populations and how it allocates resources for such care.